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Chavez 26, U.s. 16, United States 16, Us 10, America 10, Cuba 8, Washington 6, Kansas 5, Venezuela 4, Lance Armstrong 3, Hugo Chavez 3, Michigan 3, Levin 2, Shapiro 2, Madam 2, Russell 2, Nih 2, Johnson 2, Ortega 2, Harry Reid 2,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    January 15, 2013
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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swearing-in in march, whatever, the issue, what was called the declaration of caracas. .. international human rights systems don't, and the fact that
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no one does this, this is stuff we have evolved in the last couple decades i think it's very sad to read a lot of people may agree with me but didn't when i said there was a career in honduras. that's the problem we are wrapping ourselves around who we want to choose and support in the institution. >> into a more atmospheric contest and i want to return to that later in the conversation but i don't want to leave the focus just yet and i want to come back to russell. there's a lot of speculation that requires chavez, and the question might be is this something that you would agree with or is the revolution or call it whatever you like, is that sustainable even if chavez doesn't come back and reassert his authority as president?
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have the institutions been changed to this point that there is no going back or how would you see that type of scenario unfold? >> it's a great question because when we have the history of that in latin america and argentina which is still in charge under the flag today. so the question is whether the institutions in the way that the government has dominated and if you will corrupted the independence of the institutions will last even if we went to the election if they declare that he dies tomorrow which there is a rumor that they would do that actually going around now, that if he would be declared dead and they called an election within 30 days and the opposition won, meaning the sympathy vote for the candidate which is difficult after what we saw on
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december 16th and dhaka election we just talked about, chavez has 20 of 23 governors. 11 of the governors that were run by the chavez party are former military officials, including four ministers of defense, who are now governors of their respective states. several of them are all along the office of the control campaign list because of their work with the farc so we have a situation where people are in control of things, so that even if henry embrey de four e elected president in this election it's the opposite -- he's the head of the opposition who ran against chavez and got a 45% to 55% but we are talking about to the even if he was to win, he still would have institutions that are controlled by the chavez government including the supreme court which we just pointed out,
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including the legislature that is dominated by the chavez government party and every every institution through and through because of the opposition workers that struck in 2002 and in 2003 were dismissed. so we have a situation where chavez will go on just because the nature of the detail of the beast is so rooted in all of the institutions that were indeed created and restructured by chavez. >> at some point that runs its course unless there is something beyond the individual stand like an idea or consciousness of some in some way charles, you were the ambassador of the time when the story began to take root. is this whole idea of a new society, a revolutionary approach, calling it again what
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you will, that is that routed at this point in the consciousness or is it a matter left politically the institutions that have been reformed because if that is the case they can presumably change back or not but that is a political issue, not a social issue. get a chance how that plays out. >> that is a good question. we are moving ahead and how long will let go without the charismatic bethell yanna it figure of hugo chavez and a lot of people in this room have written about that, and i don't know how you measure that, but i do know this, and that is chavez did get 55% of the vote. the opposition hasn't claimed that vote isn't fair. i mean, let's assume just like any election there's no international observers but
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basically that reflects the huge popularity of hugo chavez. this is an extraordinarily polarized society. i don't think -- i mean we've just gone through a polarizing election in this country. i've never seen the degree of fervor on both sides as i have seen in venezuela, and the opposition forces have got a huge challenge. how do they get -- how do you get a majority of the vote like any opposition party, how do you get a majority of the vote and appeal to people who are personable to estimate the most recent elections in december
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actually lost the governorships, and even from the presidential elections in october. >> i don't want to go through the economic history of venezuela. i would be glad to afterwards if anybody really wants to know. but the real issue is for that percentage of the population which felt rightly or wrongly excluded, and chavez became emblematic and somehow was able to communicate that he represented those people, she is hugely popular and is able to hit that and to get people to turn out for him. will that continue without chavez? of the appointed a successor is not charismatic. i guess you can develop charisma
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but so far you don't see evidence of that. he is the guy that has been anointed by chavez. does that carry on for one election or to elections and that is the issue people are debating and are doing and trying to calculate, and that's why if one were the opposition, and i am not, the opposition has to figure out how do you combat -- how do you appeal, how do you get those votes, and i think that he did an extraordinary job in the presidential election campaigning across the country, going into areas where the opposition had been warned not to go, did better than the opposition has done in the presidential election, it made a herculean effort and got 45% of the vote.
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45% is not a majority though, that doesn't win any election. >> three thank you for clarifying that. it's a daunting task for anybody that wants to be the leader of a country for the opposition to think in terms of what it would take to do that. well, we talked a lot about the opposition. let's talk about the chabista movement. are there others perhaps who may want once president chavez is no longer able to return who may also try to assert their own authority how we see that playing out? >> the presidential election coming back, chavez won 55%. a neighbor freakin' i wouldn't say they were fair. by the high water mark of the election observation standards it would never have held up. it is a the 2000 elections in
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mexico or the 2000 election in peru was a blatant patronage with little subtle gains one and have passed muster in the opposition community. that is an indication of how much the standards are. the 55% of the vote we need to accept, but i think we need to also recognize that is also part of the point. the opposition has to come up with a coherent plot from and address the need to report, but it is also having the incumbency is particularly powerful in venezuela as opposed to other places with a much greater control of use. public spending increased by 20% in 2012, and that wasn't just for the health care expenditures on the issue we estimate the comment i often disagree on that point that i agree in the sense that argentina was permanently
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changed. there is no going back. i agree what made it fundamentally different, she knew how to build institutions. he basically consolidated the union and created the whole series of imports of the institution organizations and corporatist groups. in that he invented the second. chavez has done none of that. attempts to intellectualize she is sort of semi democratic regime and sort of missed the mark. this is basically the government by fiat. she is in the wake of a regime and basically went about to completely destroy even his own constitution. he's not an institution builder. it is really only a party of name only. it is a coalition of groups held
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together in the leftist parties from the unions to businesses to the military officers to corrupt the criminal groups. there is no coherence structure to it. well this sort of disappear or evaporate i think it's difficult. i don't think it will. again, it will remain a sort of domestic time. those are pretty heavy times and venezuela. basically the wheel went from, well, about $10 a barrel to 100 or 20 to 120. a trillion dollar windfall people during the post-world war two when the commodities had boomed as the heady days of chavez but it would be difficult to expunge. i don't think -- a lot of people believe that other actions are
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already at loggerheads. i don't think that is the case. they do know they either are separate or hang together and it's difficult to believe that they are going to set the fragment when there is so much on the table and so much at stake. some people are already trying to figure out what actions are. it's difficult to read the test will come and i don't think it's -- i always jump to say that should she win the new election if it is called, then it has to face the economic tasked with value facing 20% and a huge fiscal deficit thanks to the patronage of the last year than you are going to start to see a lot of the chickens come home to roost and see it break apart. this is very similar after -- basically he was forced to engage in a austerity package around 1952 until 55 and that is what basically got him kicked out. and then of course after 1944 he died and you begin to see that internal battle, then you begin to see diffraction happening but
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not until -- >> that is a perfect segue because i want to bring it back to russell for the question. we talked about politics and about constitution, institutions. we talked about the economy although we've alluded to this aspect to it let me ask you to take off your journalist hat and put on your markets have and ask a simple question is venezuela going to buy, sell or hold? >> i think what we are going to see in the short term is a great deal of turmoil to reverse of markets -- capital flees some certainty. so, right now you have on uncertainty because nobody knows what's going to happen. nobody knows that he's alive or dead or on life support although we did hear from his brother yesterday that he is not in a coma. we thought he was either in a, or on life support. now we know he is not. other really insightful
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information we've gotten from the regime or that he's in a stationary situation. i have no idea what that means. that is a stationary situation. >> his treatment was being assimilated. they are still using that, his treatment is being assimilated. so we haven't really had any insight into whether chavez is going to make it or not. the prospects are probably that he is not. we thought that the regime or the government would call elections sooner rather than later before the economic crisis that we are talking about started to happen but now they are starting to bite. for example, last week an institution which i'm familiar with, i won't say which, created dollars and 18 in the quarter on the black market come 18.25. the official government rate is
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4.3. to buy dollars it costs you 18 whereas if you bought them from the government can buy them at 4.3. the government isn't providing them to anybody except for friends of chavez or special people and even in the secondary market that is provided they are only producing 15 million in that day when the demand is closer to 100 million a day and that's before they shut down the parallel market in may of 2010 so you have the currency that is actually the trade was at 18 but there are no dollars available. so, that's what is causing the shortages. it's not so much that its high because they can get used to anything and you kind of need to live paper. you kind of neat flower and you are going to need certain things that you are just going to have to pay for and cut elsewhere. but the problem is there are no dollars, so the suppliers cannot order things and even bring them in. so, there's -- on tell someone
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takes the helm, you have got this waterless state that is being run and this is sticking in people's throats in venezuela from cuba. now imagine if you would -- imagine among latin americans if foreign interference if it were the united states, if chavez were in the united states and nobody's seen them or talked to them or heard from them going on 40 days, and imagine the cries about american imperialism that we would hear, but we have that exact six chelation and it's not in the u.s. is actually cuba and they're kind of an unknown factor in all of this and in an economic why. >> charles, with that in mind if he were back in the state department, and you're not, so
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what would you be advising the folks to do in terms of the u.s. government cracks how do you, or a foreign government for that matter in terms of what are some positive things that could be done to advance the issues in a sustainable way and no telling putting it in very and vigorous terms that you could translate according to your own thoughts, but what could or should we be doing in the international community? >> that was actually next on my list of things if you didn't raise it i was going to say we didn't talk about this. and sort of go to the checklist. first of all, reiterate i do not speak for the u.s. government. my views are my own and not theirs and i am a proponent of talking to people. i am not a proponent that talking to somebody is a favor that you bestow in terms of international relations. talking is what you do. it's what we did with the
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chinese and the russians and the height of the cold war. and so i think we are doing the right thing having low level contact. some through official channels, visceral diplomatic channels and some apparently offline, and i think that is the right thing to do. the spokesman on friday, you know, was extraordinarily cautious, may be too cautious for my taste. but in fact, i do not think the united states should become a foil. i think that it serves our purpose not to become a player in internal venezuela politics, and the way to do that is by being cautious which is what we are doing publicly while making
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contact privately. okay. so now let's go a little bit further. the influence of chavez -- let me back up. the other thing that has been extraordinary is the united states moving away from depending upon the supply of the venezuela oil. i'm not sure that it was intentional, but it certainly has happened thanks to our oil companies, and it is producing more than ever in energy from other sources, both domestically and from other places, and i think that's great. i think that we import around a million dollars a day from venezuela. this is me speaking. i'm not being paid by anybody but i sure would love to see a million barrels of oil coming down the pipeline from alberta
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to houston. within that the need? is that a coincidence? i think that would be terrific. so, i remember threats by the governor of venezuela not a single drop of oil will go to the united states. great. i think what we need to do is remove that leverage over our economy and we have done it and we should continue to do so. >> it's my understanding, this is a question of fact that it's my understanding the only country that is playing is really the united states and basically they are getting a discounted rate so on terms of the more favorable to respect people on the audience know more about this. >> i don't know who is paying what for what. >> venezuela is subsidizing cuba and the cuban economy at the rate of $4 billion a year out of
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60 billion-dollar economy. if i were a cubin i sure would like that to continue, and i would do everything i could to to get that to continue i think it is waning and it hit a high water mark and it is reseeding and i think that serves certainly the purposes of the united states and i think that's fine. i don't blame the countries that are receiving subsidized oil shipments. i would love for somebody to subsidize, you know, the things that i need to buy. that's in their own self-interest and the need to be thinking about what's going to happen because let's go back. if you take some of the data talked about on the economy, and you are the next, you are the government of venezuela, the
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easiest place to cut back is where you are getting away. if i am the recipient of that oil, i would be worried right now. that's just in the self-interest of the government of venezuela if you have a deficit, you know, stop giving away, stop subsidizing sales to people. that would be the logical thing to do. and if you had a government that wasn't as the ideologically motivated as the current government, the government that is as the ideologically motivated as the current government, that would be a real logical thing for them to do. >> thank you for those comments to be before i go to chris for the last question of this round, i want to mention going to the audience for some of your questions we will have microphones so you can be thinking about your questions and hopefully the conversation to this point has been sufficiently provocative that he will have a number of questions we can go into the procedure for
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doing that but to give you a heads up that is coming shortly. chris, back to you for a continuation of what charles lost his comments and i want to press it adjustable but further to talk about the democracy site. charles also mentioned that he doesn't think that the united states would want to provide a foil for anybody is really something i agree with, but the two may not necessarily consistent if you are trying to promote democracy and keep the united states out of it at least publicly and may be privately as well, which i think are both very, very laudable goals and yet at the same time very potentially conflicting so i never promised you an easy question here, but how do you begin to think through some of those issues and are there other partners may be outside of the united states or the region that might be able to be helpful in thinking through some of these very complicated matters?
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>> first it is very expensive doctors. [laughter] >> that's why the health care plans don't work there. second, on this point, i think the negotiation discussions with venezuela is good. you know, i think sort of announcing it now -- but it was in november so it should come out now. >> you know, no one is going to stray too far from the shuttle and so it is a little bit, the timing was a little bit of not necessarily the state department's fault. people are not going to want to admit they are talking to reduce all clearly what we are doing with chavez's approval so that indicates the stickiness of the situation. i will be honest i am saddened to see the united states isn't speaking out, not in defensive of -- not any hypergolic cents
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or anything but it's not saying something of concern. again, you can gently express concern that raising concerns of the polarization, the potential for conflict, the following process he's and i understand. you don't want to turn yourself into becoming a foil. but no one isg up. they made some very clumsy statements but it didn't attend the so-called inauguration which is a little bit to get i assume the united states is quietly trying to get other countries. it's hoping. it is a lost hope to speak out, but it's time for someone to put on their pants and stand up and say, you know, we are watching this and we are concerned and we hope is resolved in an institutional matter. nobody's doing it.
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>> i would argue that is the role of the people in this room and the role of the council of america, the human rights watch and other people. i found it interesting that i guess i don't monitor all of the media around the world but the editorial says this was a scandalous supreme court decision. everybody else sort of backs away. they treat them like the council and the supreme court. the supreme court of the country. and that's where the non-governmental voices can speak out stronger than the businesses that have the business to be concerned about and countries that have their own narrowly defined national interests to be concerned about. >> there is something to be said for the prestige of the
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diplomatic expressions and the friends of venezuela even in the constitution, the friend said could speak out and say something. colombia, brazil -- >> in the u.s. congress which most of them are not in congress anymore but -- >> with the passage of time but not for that reason. they never said anything that they are going to be taken as critical of the government. >> and now we have the important thing to remember. to get people to speak out when you have your own national interests to follow. the united states and just the way it works if the united states whispers something here, it becomes a roar in venezuela.
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it is a magnifying impact, which the government of venezuela of course uses and likes to do that. they are in fact the magnifier. >> are you good? >> i'm good. >> i have a lot of additional questions and i know all of you do, too. this is been from my perspective an interesting conversation, and a lot of things that we could continue to explore. let's see what's on all of your minds. what i would like you to do this once you have been identified, i would like you to wait for the microphone, and also then identify yourself by name and organization, and if the question is directed to a particular panelist, please identify that panelist. i really want to insist that these are questions, not statements. simply limit yourself to questions and then we will go
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right here, please. >> thank you. i'm a retired officer currently working in honduras for the state department. >> is a microphone on? can you hear? okay. >> other question about the economic impact of the change of the government if the opposition takes over presumably these deals for the subsidized oil will be modified or come to them end and i wonder if what we see on the economic impact of the country where the oil stocks and also with regard to the relationship between cuba and venezuela i saw a comment of the other day about the possibility of cuba withdrawing all of its personnel and the system collapsing and there may be other impacts as well. >> we are going to start this on the reverse order and start with chris. >> the wisest thing they can do
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is send a message it will not be cut off. you have thousands of cuban doctors. i never have any idea what that means, sweatpants, muscles, runs a wound. you're not going to be able to untangle them from the institutions of the government like that. the best thing you can do you don't want to pick a fight with cuba. supposedly there have been silent signals from the opposition to the cuban government that we are not going to mess with them right now. and other stuff has to maintain because it will have a huge impact. the dominican republic and course cuba gets 102 -- well it depends on who you talk to. it has to rename. i don't think you can untangle that any time soon. if it is a drain on the economy and quite frankly, i don't know
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why they want the job. lindsay lehane's -- lohan's therapist. but whoever occupies is going to have a very difficult set of economic decisions. >> what about other countries in the region besides cuba? you have a view on that or any finished particular thoughts? >> i think i wouldn't quite go so far. i assume there are contracts and those contracts would be found but for example i assume there's some sort of an agreement, but i would go along with that until
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those agreements expire but what it does is puts them in the same fix they were in before. a problem with cutting off subsidies anywhere those countries have to scramble and figure out what to do. they are an advantage right now. the international energy market is trying to shift around and that could be to the benefit of some of these countries to reverse some of them the basic problem is they don't have enough money to pay for it. >> did you have to comment on that or no? >> i guess i should say something about how this breaks down. as you kind of a pointed out in venezuela, production is in question, but let's use about 2.7 million. it hasn't really gone up. it's gone down over the last two years despite the plans that should be going up, but they
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fired all the workers and have a bunch of political loyalists and then they expropriated exxon and, co and several billions of dollars and amazingly the brothers had a plant there as well and chavez took that a couple years ago as well. so, we have about a million barrels between 702 million going to the u.s. every day making them the largest supplier in the u.s. and the important thing that was just pointed out as we are really the only guy that is paying for their oil. let me explain that a little bit more. we are subsidizing with hugo chavez, so we have an important voice because we are the money. one of the policies is to get away from the u.s. and shipping oil to the u.s. and when the
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ambassador shapiro was the ambassador to increased shipments to china, china didn't have this venezuela that they've built it now and they have a plant that should come on line in 2014. they've given as a loan against the future receivables of oil of $40 billion. they've paid off. they are giving that at a discount. >> investor shapiro probably has the information, but one of the wikileak reports from venezuela is there are paying $20 a barrel the government has denied that. a mix the main guide it is paying cash bidder going
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100,000 barrels a day are going to be free. talk about the shipping doctors in the program to basically get a lot of the doctors are not practicing because they slipped away as they were able to with other latin american countries so there were not many doctors left. but it's also a labeling problem when you talk to doctors they didn't go to four years of medical school. they have basically the emt and that is basically stopping the nurses and equipment and what we call the emergency medical technicians and the staffing needs with these stations with a few other basic things, so it's a kind of deceptive label that we use. triet >> there was a question right here. two, three, we have a bunch.
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>> members of the board, ladies and gentlemen, when can we know for sure chavez is a failure, knowing that, i would like to know your opinion or the currencies in their future within the next 12 months. >> we can give you the economic data. we can't. economists say to get all of the economists in the room they say that it's necessary. but this is a government that you have seen not do what economists say is necessary. will they do at? how do you do it at what point valued in the past, when is the next it's going to stop
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inflation from taking place and inflation of course continues with a trillion dollar coin. >> that is actually a very important question and a lot of them from venezuela said there won't be an alternative, and maybe that is true and maybe it is not the question becomes one of timing. what are your thoughts on that? >> the reason that we had expected the valuation to take place as we often do of we are still recovering from the new year celebration to slip in because nobody's reading the papers as much and they can't, they didn't do it because they are back in election mode which is the interest to the economy and back in a situation where they have to campaign against and we have a huge bomb been
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spending over the last year to try to campaign again free and fair. there were a lot of traps for exactly what i want to say was the for example. he was the opposition candidate the government switched. they said they were going to support and switched to someone else. they've ended up and going some cases from a candidate or some cases at all because it happened in six different pictures on the ballot, number one. but number two, the government as part of the number two that we saw last year.
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now i don't know, like mitt romney he would have had my vote to give >> he had your vote anyway. [laughter] >> so what's happened is the government has promised people houses and they are on tv every day and give houses to people and so they think that it's their turn next and if they were to win the lottery and this might turn is coming. so they offered to buy people houses. they've got those votes and the house will be ready in april 2014 cheers what it looks like it here is our model house. of course the opposition comes them, we are very sorry but -- those people already have those houses and the kind of support them to the polls and watch them and vote for chavez you are going to lose your house because you don't own that.
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you occupy it. so that is the kind of thing that we are talking about in terms of bringing of the ferry elections. islamic but just going back to the question of the evaluation at least until the whole leadership issue is resolved. >> i think it is -- no one is there to make the decision right now. understand when chavez came back it was one of the questions that put him she said he decided because he doesn't want to be that guy it means your money worth less even though market is almost five times what the official rate is. nobody wants to be that guy that makes that popular adjustment. >> there was a question here, please, yes. >> i'm a venezuelan geologist and with the exception of a high
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level of detachment concern with what is going on in venezuela, which i find very tragic to read what is going on and venezuela is sent only been going on and venezuela. it's going on in the americas. and if you don't take it like that coming to you are probably prone and i would find that very tragic whereas the charismo is by three presidents, morales and ortega, especially ortega in our own country to call a piece of meat vulture.
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there is an organized effort to in the americas to attack ultimately not venezuela, but the united states which they see as the last bastion in the hemisphere and if we cannot see that going, we are in bad shape triet islamic let me ask chris and charles to respond to that. >> this is the first right here. >> let me put this slightly differently. what is the chavez legacy in the region? you talked about that, but we mentioned, or the questioner just mentioned three leaders, and perhaps others could mention this as well but what is the legacy of the region? is this a regionwide movement targeting the united states with
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the sustained wander period of time as a strategic threat and maybe we could even put it that way in the context of the united states is a question. >> i think first of all, chavez is and where he was in say 2,005. i think people have begun to see that model and we are seeing sort the interesting thing, to lack the lobbyists start to talk more about the model where they did before as anathema. so the chavez stock fell in the region but we shouldn't diminish it. his capacity again to destroy the institution but not just in his own country, but regionally. the human rights commission, you know, the creation of sort out let's say institutionally challenge regional associations and political factor.
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it's at the very least to confound and confuse what had been very well-established process season ways of resolving not just internal conflicts of the issues of human rights, but also the pro regional context and those have been completely, you know, with one example that sort of reunites talk about the expansion of the u.s. presence in colombia when there is good evidence of the camps and ecuador and allegations of connections between the venezuelan government and somehow the u.s. presence in columbia becomes a topic. something is definitely wrong. this will probably offend some people, which i do lot, what has happened is they don't underestimate the power and
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don't underestimate the power of sort of doing the sort of things that as you mentioned, standing up and denouncing on the stage the most refined is just ridiculous, but it has a certain amount of purchase, and it has and it demonstrates people do not care as much about institutions as they used to and that's powerful. you will see a wave of the candidates sweeping across the region as we feared in 2005. but i do think that mark is going to remain very much a wouldn't say a veto power but a very strident and popular movement within the region to read >> charles? [inaudible] >> i agree with chris that charismo has hit a high water mark and has receded and the
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venezuelans are going to resolve the issues of venezuela and not foreigners, outsiders. we can have some impact on that i suppose. but at the end of the day it is the venezuelans that are going to resolve it and so the issue is up but how do you take that anchor that you feel and i don't want to miss characterize you, but how do people there are opposed to chavez take that and turn it into a way that this going to change the situation in venezuela? chavez and castro and che guevara touch a chord in latin america that is their. but, but i think is in the last five, ten years is going to touch and has touched a vigor court and is much more important
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with which countries are growing economically. where is poverty dropping in latin america. and if you do an overlay of the map of america and the caribbean which countries have investment grade, and which countries follow sound economic policy, it is a complete overlap. it is a one-for-one collation some people have to be looking and say my gosh, look at what is happening in brazil and peru with the left-of-center government and the right of center government, columbia with -- you know, mexico is on the verge of a huge takeoff and so do you want to be starting about these issues of the past and looking for charismatic leaders, the ones that gathered in
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caracas or figure out how to move your countries and political system and economic system forward, and i think that is the issue and that's where the -- it serves the united states to play in that field and that argument. >> i know chris mentioned a number of institutional democracies, so we have to go into the conversation. the question here and i know we are getting a little pressed for time here, so we want to make sure that we end on time in deference to all of our viewers to read >> thank you very much. >> i have a question for you about u.s. foreign policy, but not the relation first of all i'm not sure whether the obama administration will see the human rights and democracy component of the foreign policy towards the region in the middle
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east and maybe in africa and asia the component is pretty clear. for latin america i don't see the strategy. now, you have mentioned several times the reason why, one of the reasons why the secretary explained he has no role in venezuela or the countries in north america or the crisis like this is because, you know, he's just a servant and an employee of an organization that nothing happened. do you expect during the new obama term a different approach? we understand everything we do from here to washington could be , could backfire but in the
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context from the collective commitments to preserve the freedom of speech, fundamental principles of the separation of powers support, given the situation in venezuela, are you expecting something different for these new for years in the administration? >> he just articulated a question that i couldn't quite articulate that is precisely the one i was hoping. >> let me answer as blunt end quickly as a possible. the victim and the beneficiary of the growing irrelevance basically they've declined in stature and importance has sort of them less open to observation
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and criticism because it is becoming less and less relevant. i think it's difficult i honestly don't know how you turned the corner to make it -- i do think giving a much more -- to take the case without the commission to show me what we are working on as the next quarterly i think that could be a test case for demonstrating the only thing that works and could sort of hopefully reinject and an opportunity for the obama administration quietly behind the scenes a common cause in the country that don't want to see that being demanded. the american system did muted, but it goes beyond a sort of suffering a certain amount of problems and i don't think often some people attacked it often helps and the analysis recently or couple of months ago the language used by chavez to attack the oas and they are
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strikingly similar. as you can imagine. so, you know, in one case the oas is an instrument of the leftists but i do think you're right. they have not engaged in number of human rights issues. if we wanted to engage the embargo to engage the process of change that's already going out in cuba and devotee that easy left. the problem was they got a little gun shy because of the loss of political capital and the years of the bush administration some people in the administration tried to politicize the human rights questions and i think that the mantra became wendi obama administration came in we cannot publicize them or get in the
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middle of it but i think they had gone too far and it's not just in venezuela. it's across the board, and i don't think that, you know, they really found that middle ground yet. there is a crying need for people in the region's. let's take the case of venezuela who are not getting represented somewhere. estimate on that happy and optimistic note, i know there are many additional questions and we simply don't have time to get to you so i apologize for that, but i think the conversation here has been fantastic. it's been broad, diverse, which covered a lot of territory. i know we didn't answer all questions to the fact of the matter is that good because the phrase you always want to leave them wanting more so presumably we've done that. ladies and gentlemen will you join me in my thinking our panelists. [applause]
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representative live in discusses tax policy and deficit reduction. he spoke at the briefing today
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hosted by the christian science monitor for an hour. >> thanks for coming. i'm dave cook from the monitor. welcome to the first breakfast of the new year. the guest is representative sander levin of michigan cranking member of the house ways and means committee. this is the first visit of the group. he did for deily to detroit native and the university of chicago, master's and international relations of columbia and a law degree from harvard who was elected in the michigan state senate in 1964 and served as a senate minority leader during the carter administration he was assistant
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administrator of the agency for international development elected to the house in 1982. for four years after his brother carl was elected to the senate. in march, 2010, representative levin one the gavel of the chairman of the ways and means committee. in the biographical portion of the program now on to the thrilling portion. as always we are on the record please, no blogging and tweeting while the breakfast is underway. there is no embargo when the breakfast is over except c-span agreed not to use video session at least two hours after the breakfast ends. to help c-span if you're sitting next to a microphone, but close to you and if not, they will come around with a boom microphone. please to the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening single and i will do my best to call on one and all. we will offer their representative levin the chance to make opening comments and moves around the table. with that, sir, thanks for
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coming. >> thanks to all of you for joining. i was thinking yesterday as i was listening to the president about past conflicts over deficit-reduction, and i remember some of the year earlier deficit reduction that we had in one hand to andy and hollings. i was for virtually all of them. i was thinking what has changed since those debates? and there's been two major changes. number one, the deficit is clearly much greater they would
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add a dimension, but second, when i think of the ways and means committee, what a change there has been in this composition. when i joined ways and means, he just left his ranking member and he then went to the world bank. i worked with bill on trade and he was handling the text material mainly and was working on health care. i think the second major change that very much affects the d-day is a change in composition of the republican party. ..
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in addition, as we on now, we pass not so long ago that tax bill, which in terms of deficit reduction, adds over 600 really into it.
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so as the president describes you take into account entries, we've essentially had deficit reduction of $2.5 trillion. the president said a core of an additional $1 trillion deficit reduction. if are going to essentially destabilize the data, say 73% of gdp, we are going to have to, in the next period of time have a deficit reduction of about $1.4 trillion. for me, that's the goal we should set a period and so the argument we're having in addition to what the deficit to the target should be, were having a major battle over what should be the composition of deficit reduction.
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so let me just give you my point of view. the president yesterday talked about having balance had a thing for us democrats, that's the key. there has to be a mixture of spending cut and further revenue. and we need that balance for three reasons. number one, in order to promote economic growth. in my judgment, it followed that comes from cuts in programs, and i will accelerate economic growth. the second reason relates to income inequality. there has been a startling change in the last 20 years really. the middle-class has essentially been stagnant in the figure
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really is in 2010, 93% of income growth went to the top 1%. and the third reason relates to discretionary spending. i was looking at the 10 year projection for discretionary spending and for the domestic part of it. if we continue on this path in terms of rate of gdp, the domestic discretionary spending will be under 2%. you will essentially be cut close to have been the next decade. and so, we are talking about education programs. were talking about health programs, including nih research. were talking about infrastructure. we're talking that key domestic discretionary programs that are
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so important for the lives of the vast majority of the american people. so let me just say two things about that. number one, there has to be a balance. and number two, i think it is fido, as the president said so clearly yesterday, that the debt ceiling essentially must not use to say what then that essentially takes on and essentially undoes the basic full faith and credit of the united states of america. the president made so clear what would he have staked if that were to happen and i just think it's so critical that not occur.
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you know, i've been through these battles as i've said for many decades, but i don't remember anyone essentially saying we should go over the cliff in terms of the full faith and credit of the united states. the consequences with teeth, i think, to not take, potentially cataclysmic. and for the republicans who essentially say, let's do it, i think that would be a very, very serious mistake with foreseeable consequences. the federal reserve has said don't do it and i think the responsible position is we should not flirt with it. >> said they don't march on me with torches that they start asking you questions.
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something cataclysmic shouldn't be done in terms of reaching the debt ceiling, yet does science seem locked in concrete. i'm not going to talk about the congress. speaker boehner said it can't be done unless we cut spending at the same time. having watched this for more than 30 years in congress, what are the odds of avoiding going over the cliff given where both parties are? >> the outside that we won't do it. it's not a matter of faith. it's a matter of consequence. i mean, those who say okay, let's toilet, they are toying with the american economy and with the global economy. and so, i think it is somewhat -- it seems brave to talk about doing that, but the closer you get to that cliff,
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the less likely it is that your fund the u.s. over it. >> one another in a booklet of brian butler and start. let me ask you about tax reform. he told "politico" last week that a balanced approach are facing sequester with spending cuts and revenue should accelerate tax reform and i believe it's fully possible this year for work on a bipartisan basis, unquote. how does that square with the people who say tax reform is going to lose out because of scheduling and it's asinine anemones sequestering house republicans concern that if they do anything on tax reform that they may leave themselves open to the senate not taking action and therefore have taken an unpopular vote for no reason. why are you optimistic on tax reform? >> first of all, we have to resolve this debt crisis in terms of sequestration in the
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full faith and credit of the u.s. in the next six weeks. we are going to accomplish tax reform in the next six weeks. so we have a deadline but i think cannot be simply be moved for what we need to do in the next six weeks. and so, that will leave us adequate time to tackle longer range problems. we are not going to accomplish tax reform in the next six weeks, but we need to essentially deal with the sequester come to essentially find a balanced approach that's going to raise the trillion dollars or close to it. and so that's why i have some optimism because we need to face up to the next six weeks, resolve it and move on.
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>> brick. ibm mac >> -- governance by conflict in class. i want to ask you about the big things on the other side. how big a package which you need to see in terms of the public to entertain part of this now about same as take the debt ceiling of the table for the next four years of bitter debate entitlement reform package. what do you need to see for young colleagues on the democratic side to say a right to engage in the conversations that the other side is insisting on with entitlement. >> first of all, we have to take the debt ceiling off the table for a considerable time. secondly, regarding entitlement reform, let's take medicare. there have been two changes in terms of medicare and its future.
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number one is that the rate of health care growth has been diminished in the rate of medicare cost increase. but it's also been diminished. that's the first consequence of the first events of the last three years. secondly, we have health care reform, which i think has accelerated to two munition and help your cost increase. what i think we need to do in terms of medicare is for both parties in both houses and the white house to sit down and have a serious discussion about how we continue to get ahold of medicare and other health care costs. we really need to do that. the social security, we have to have the same kind of discussion and so, i am urging the chairman of the committee, chairman of
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finance, ranking member in the senate, myself and the white house and others to sit down and look at medicare, look at health care reform, look at the reduction in the increase in sea how we intensify that. i was among those who really urged in health care reform that we put in to help care reform instrumentalities to change from a fee-for-service system. i went through this with my own family. fee-for-service is not a feasible structure for the present or the future. we had to instrumentalities to exchange it for a different system to do that. does that answer your question? >> -- part of the fiscal talk of the debt ceiling, over
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sequestration, even the continuing resolution. the many crises are big crises in the next couple weeks. >> my own judgment as any to face it to sequestration. we need to find a balanced way to do it and then go on to tax reform and entitlement reform. >> brian. >> interview, did the president make an error either strategically or legal merit to take any worker on the debt ceiling of the table yesterday, whether it's the coin of the 14th amendment, that there's no way the treasury can affect only prevent the consequences of reaching the debt ceiling but it's not raised quick >> no. >> was the right call? >> i think so. because it gets back to the first question for mr. kline about where we are. and to my comments about the
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change in the republican ranks, i really think the president had no choice but to essentially say to the republican party, you should not dapple with the debt ceiling, that it's some thin though it has such serious consequences. and i don't want to essentially see if i can find ways around it. those ways are very problematic and essentially what we have to do is face up to the need to address the sequester and then moved on and they don't want you to use as a weapon in the debt ceiling because it's not a weapon against me. it's a weapon against the full faith and credit against the u.s. and therefore is essentially what an again the
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citizens of this century, our economy and the global economy. you think he needed to be straight up and not say essentially what i'll do is look for ways around it. the republican caucus is a set at the beginning, so dramatically changed from when i joined ways and means, which by the way has jurisdiction over the ceiling. the republican party really has to decide how much it's willing to gamble with the economy of the united states. i think that would be dangerous scandal and the president was correct to essentially say straight out. so i have with him on that. in fact ask for credit that they showed -- [inaudible]
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>> i'm not surprised. [inaudible] -- assuming there is a negotiation that is result in a pre-trade deal between the european union and has, you can take a look at what the issues are going to be. they'll have a profound impact on the whole regulatory regime both in this country and in europe. going into that, what would be your reservation -- [inaudible] about the deal that would emerge from these negotiations? or would she be most turned about? >> i said in a meeting of the group that's looking at this, and my position stated there was we should undertake serious discussions between the u.s. and the e.u.
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at the same time, i think we need to be realistic. i resent the ohio over 10 years ago and i think there were unnecessarily optimistic views about how quickly it could be done and how uncomplicated it was and it turned out that caution was the better part of judgment. the e.u. has immense regulatory issues and they think they would have to be willing, essentially, to open up their markets and not use various procedures to try to safeguard their market. so i favor proceeding, but with
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an understanding that there are immense issues to be looked at. and it's not going to have been very, very quickly. but i'm in favor of starting it. [inaudible] >> -- which is fancy language for regulations. for now, whether we're going to allow european meat that might be contaminated with mad cow disease and they have the same concern. inevitably out of that will be a reconfiguration of the safety net on both sides of the atlantic. is that a troubling prospect to you? do you see some opportunities to really streamline the way the two economies govern themselves? >> let me put it this way.
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we have dealt with issues regarding safeguard, health safeguards and others said other countries. we did that in negotiation with columbia. we did that in negotiation with panama. if any two entities can resolve those issues, it is e.u. and the united states. essentially what the e.u. has been doing in my jitteriness to use their regulatory provisions to, i don't like overprotected factly because exactly because it's over years, but to essentially safeguard their market, competition. so we have to be able to do that. if any two structures should be able to meet those tests, it is our too. that i think it's very doable.
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i mean, the french will have to be willing to let us into their into their market. we've had the same problem with the russia pm tr that we've basically taken a step to resolve it. if we could do it with fresh air, we can do it with the e.u. >> mark. >> you talk about the republican party changing. but the democrats in the majority, they had if i'm not mistaken white or dark democrats from arkansas, alabama, south carolina, mississippi, louisiana, north carolina and virginia. the democrats are changed. his an essay question that there's a gulf between the two parties. democrats democrats are more uniformly liberal party than they were when you are the majority party. certainly when you came to the house and even most recently appeared solicit on one side the
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change? >> mark, it is not one-sided, but i looked over the roster of ways and means when i entered in the next two years i did that yesterday and there's been a change in the composition both the democrats and republicans. and i regret what has happened. i think rich rooster dean has very much diminished competition in the 90s, i was in a marginal seat and had four contested elections. a few of us were talking yesterday about some of the ads we ran in this contested election. they were difficult. i think we need more of them. but mark, let me be very clear about what my feeling is. there has been some change in the democratic rains, but compared to the republican
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ranks, i think there's been considerably less change. i regret that there are more blue dogs within our ranks, but the main obstacle to resolving the debt ceiling increases and moving on are the tensions within the republican conference and to some extent in the senate on the republican side. i said this with some caution. there has been, in a sense, a radicalization of the republican conference in the house and i think the results above are shown in the difficulty the speaker had in the last few weeks. so i'm not saying there hasn't been any change, that we should
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perhaps discuss this and debated. i think in terms of mainstream america at the republican ranks have changed much more dramatically than half the democratic, the texture of the democratic caucus. as i look about, i think i've been part of a the mainstream within the democratic party and i think basically that mainstream -- look, we are willing to sit down and talk about further budget cuts. our insistence is that there has to be a revenue and a major ingredient. the american people basically agree with that, mark. the american people basically said there has to be balance. the american people basically say, set in terms of income and
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inequality in this country that we were out of kilter. and i'll just close with this. i urge everybody to look at what's happened to income growth in this culture in the last 30 years. i represent a district that is scary basically blue-collar. they've now changed it because of redistricting, so now there's a higher income ingredient. i represent mostly reagan democrat as it is called territory, may be the. and i think if you talk to people within the calm county and parts of oakland, what they essentially will say it's for the last 10, 15, 20 years, the middle-class of this country has essentially been treading water. while there's been a tipping of the balance in favor of higher
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income groups and they think they would agree with the cbo said that that taping has not been promotion, promotion of economic growth. so, i think we remain on the democratic side that the ranks are so much changed within the mainstream of this country. while i think the republican conference is out of step. i think it's gone too far from the ranks of the ways and means republicans when i first joined the committee. >> we are going next to john mckenna and michael warren, jennifer to pull him up h. cunningham, stephen cooper and arthur such injured. >> can you talk more about tax reform that entitlement reform, how you see that process unfolding? are those two things going to be
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linked? do you have a target in mind for the deficit reduction that might be involved and just talk about how the process works. >> in terms of deficit reduction, i've indicated what they think is a reasonable target. i think what we essentially have to do is to move the ratio closer to 73% than it is today and we can have an argument as to how much below that we need. i think the sequence is very clear if i may say so and this is what the republican party needs to accept. we need to do with the sequestered at the balance between cut revenues. we then need to have a serious discussion about medicare. i know there's been some discussion about moving the age. i have several questions about
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that. i do think with health care reform here to stay, the republican party needs to accept that. we've had, as i said, this ammunition in the increased cost of medicare and other health care costs. i think we need to sit down and discuss, at the last three years the trend? how do we build into it a change from how we reimburse health care. in this sense, i'm kind of a radical. i really believe we need to move away from fee-for-service to a different structure. there were differences within the democratic ranks. i was in favor of building entrance to mentalities that would help us move in that
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direction. we now have some further grants to accountable care organizations. there's other mechanisms. i'd like to have a serious discussion on a bipartisan basis about what was endeavored in ipaq. it's not likely to be triggered because of the reduced increase in cost. that's how i would handle medicare. social security is not an immediate threat in terms of our imbalance. i think we should sit down and have a discussion about how we safeguard and fortify social security for the longer-term. let me just finish quickly by talking about tax reform. dave camp set out a target of a 25% rate for individual and a 25% rate for corporate taxation.
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i said i didn't think just saying that without indicating how you would get better with anything really sick. you haven't asked me how we're going to get more revenues for sequestration. in my judgment, were going to have to take a look at proposals like the 28% proposal of the administration, but with this caveat. i think i was among the first if not the first to say be careful about how you perceive with itemized deductions. and so we asked taxicab is sure on income distribution for each of them. and the income distribution changes depending on what itemized deduction you're taking into account.
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but clearly, if are going to find additional revenues including taxes, we have to look at itemized deductions, but in a careful way. we're also going to have to look at loopholes. i think a number of you know that a few years ago i suggested we look at carried interest. i knew nothing about it until the law school classmate of mine some years ago told me he had been involved in the use of it. the mullet was legal, he thought he was abusive. so i looked into it. i think that's part of tax reform we should look at it. and other loopholes. by the way, they are doing that in europe now. >> mr. warren. >> even though we been through all this, i still play domiciled
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debt ceiling issue and i'm wondering if you can tell me what would have been if congress did not raise the debt ceiling and that would make it such a dangerous option for going forward. >> i think our credit rating would go down. and how would we pay the bills? how would we pay social security? how will we pay veterans? [inaudible] >> now, the republicans are saying pick and choose. and so let's have a vote here. which ones would we pick? which ones would not occur right away? i mean, the president was right to say in my judgment to the republicans, don't do it. you're playing with fire. >> i don't understand that i
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guess. why are they playing with fire? what would have been? >> those are two different questions. i think republicans have some idea what would have been. we've been through this with the credit rating and i think essentially they know what would have been in so they say let's pick and choose. either way, they haven't said which they would pick and which would be left aside. the president made clear, we are not talking about future expenses. we're talking about pain but the congress had voted. pick and choose the same thing that is at this point, theoretical, but would become very real without spelling out which ones would be laughed aside. you're not going to pay soldiers? are not going to send out social
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security checks? are not going to pay defense contract this? that is what is involved here. >> one more in another person. >> democrats feel this is dangerous. is it to the republican strategic advantage to get to that point to get as much as they can out of your party? >> know because i don't think that's a weapon that will move us. [inaudible] >> so it's not that dangerous that are pushing to? >> it's dangerous. it's very dangerous. it's so dangerous that this country should not play with it and the president essentially says, i don't want to be leveraged that way because you are essentially leveraging this country. not me, but this country. >> republicans in the wyoming
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legislature want to use unemployment reforms in the payroll tax cut bill so they can have unemployed people. the labor department has finished guidelines that they will but they are presumably sane what do you think about? >> the only two provisions that we argued about in the conference committee, right, it only makes appropriate if you can drive case somebody who was let go allegedly because of drugs rsa pines for a position that traditionally has had a chart tests. that's within the bill. so the notion that in terms of the federal unemployment is down that you can use drug testing beyond it is not consistent with the law. they can't do it.
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>> that's at the labor department is trying to figure out right now. do you still anticipate that it would be relatively few not a majority of jobs? >> the notion that it was a majority with a figment of somebody's imagination. there is no evidence that most people who would be covered by, that that would be the majority. it's two provisions. its two aspects against someone who was fired because of it allegedly for someone applying for a job, which traditionally has struck testing. that is a small minority of the cases. >> jennifer. [inaudible] >> -- they've all expressed serious concerns to you and your colleagues regarding at the top about sequestration, shifting the burden from the federal
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government to infrastructure investment and that sort of thing. can you reassure the state and local groups that entries for municipal bonds and tax redemption is off the table or is that silly part of it? any been a proponent of build america bonds and want to see back. and also you're very confident or partially confident that we'll see tax reform happen after sequestration. >> on the latter, i'm not very confident. i am hopeful. secondly, in terms of the 28%, that's why we need to have a serious discussion. the administration's proposal had itemized and non-itemized deduction casino. there was that much attention paid to that. the state and local bonds is probably the largest part of the non-itemized deductions.
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i have some concern about that and we need to talk about its implications. but it's not so simple because there's some analyses that fadeaway of irks essentially the main beneficiaries become the very wealthy and i think we need to look at that. in terms of state and local taxes, we also need to look at that. i'm not in favor of just accepting the administration's 28% proposal lock stock and barrel. as someone who urged caution a year and half ago, i continue to do so. but i just want to be emphatic. there is no way to meet the requirements of sequestration without balance. there has to be more bad news and there also have the budget cuts. let me remind everybody, and the speaker talked to about
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$1 billion in revenues when he met with the president. we have not reached that. and so when i read editorials saying that i am on others are talking about our revenues and my taxes, that is very true. and by the way, what was the proposition that the republicans when it came to revenues? it was itemized deductions, ray? so why would they be totally resistant? governor romney's suggestion, he said will just pick a level. but that's what he was talking about. so as part of sequestration discussions, we need to disguise further work on the itemized and non-itemized deductions. one last point. i know we need to move on. remember this emphatic about this in discussions with the
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administration. we needed to include in the tax provisions to reinstitution that's been done at the 250,300,000 model. so we are to have the same sound use of agonized objections. we need to look at it further. [inaudible] >> medicare reform. he said he talked a lot about bcs and moving away from fee-for-service models. but when i ask republicans about that, they're skeptical that to achieve a net savings rate to our immediate cut. so can you offer more specifics about brady might find common ground with republicans? you mention recent tiedemann age. but about means testing comment rebates for dual eligible, other ideas you can both agree on. >> okay, let's take each of
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those. i mentioned my concern about each. i think we need to have a very serious discussion about it and how it would fit into how three foreign, number one. number two, as two other suggestions, we can like a rebate. what's at stake is over $100 billion in terms of dual eligible voters and others as you know. i think we need to look at it, but let me just be clear about this. we've had a reduction in the escalation of health care costs and medicare are less than a 1%
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increase. we need to sit down seriously and ask why that's happening. hhs says in good part is because of health care reform and i think that is part of it. but i'd like to engage on the colleagues into how we accelerate the move from fee-for-service, which i think in the long term it's going to be how we best get hold of health care costs. i don't know your experience and i won't dwell on it except to say my experience with fee-for-service in terms of health care for my beloved late wife was absolutely inscrutable. it was not understandable. it was an efficient. received those from people who i don't remember ever meeting.
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it is a system that is based too much on volume and we need to move away from it and i think we build into health care reform some instrumentalities. i want us to do more. [inaudible] >> we are to do considerable means testing and i don't think that's understood here people just say lifting means testing, we do it for part b, as you know. we do for prescription drugs. should we do more of it? i think we should look at it. but let's remember, we don't want to move it up to a point where people drop out. so we need to look at that. >> part of the chart can be here in d.c. is broad bases loaded to
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loopholes, over and over. so the tax reform should be revenue natural. it set up the table now? >> i don't know, but we need to move away from the writer. i mean, i said this at the beginning. 25% top rate i know dave can't suggested that needs to be reevaluated. i never thought there's any reality to it because no one ever said how you would get her. and we now have raised their rates. we have to some extent addressed itemize deductions. i think we need to go into further discussion on not. so i favor tackling tax reform and getting away from this notion that essentially what we
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are going to do is lower the rates and broaden the base. it's too rhetorical. >> mr. sussing. >> have realistic to think it is the president will stick by his i'm not going to discuss or negotiate the debt ceiling stands as we approach the mid february or march deadline? and if he does, is there a danger that he doesn't give republicans a face-saving out to up back from the precipice to beat their chests on. >> and now, i don't think it's a matter of saving face really. i think the president was right to be blunt.
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and i think what will happen is the republicans eventually will decide on one of two courses. number one, to push us over the cliff in terms of debt ceiling artistic town with the president and discuss a balanced approach. there are only two alternatives here. >> the president said he's not going to discuss it. >> he said he didn't want to discuss the debt ceiling. he said he wanted to discuss whether they take to avoid sequestration. >> i wanted to change the subject to gun control. you were here when it was passed in 94. i'm curious at the deep divide between republicans and democrats achieve observed, do
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you think that is a possibility? any common ground piece of legislation that might be out to get through? >> now, i think it's realistic. you know, i think the ground is shifting. i think the ground shifted when it came to how we deal with the deficit in this country. i think when senator mcconnell said that the elect drug essentially voted for the status quo, he was wrong. i think the reelection of the president shifted the ground when it came to how we proceed with economic growth, how we address the rule of the middle-class,, how we address programs relating to those trying to climate the latter to the middle class.
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i also think the ground shifted on gun control, including the ground on which the president stands. i think everybody should be honest. i think a lot of people have shied away from gun control because they thought it was politically difficult. and i've been a strong advocate of it. maybe because it's been easier, though i represent the district for which it isn't totally easy. but i think essentially what happened in connecticut was a shifting of the ground under which everybody stands and it may well be that as a result,
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they won't shift. and it may be because of the late polarization has increased in this country that there are lots of people who think that politically they can't move. but the country as a whole, i think i shifted. and the president has shifted, to some extent. i think he acknowledges that. so what's realistic? today i guess, says receipts. overview presentation. i think that we will pass some major provisions in terms of 90s aims. i think we can do that. i think in terms of more clear surveillance, in terms of who can buy, i think that shows will come under regulation.
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in terms of assault weapons, i think there's at least a 50/50 chance we will act. >> anybody who hasn't had one in what the question. yes, ma'am. >> other possible loopholes you might include in this tax reform package, what might be in there for energy in terms of targeting oil and gas tax breaks and these kinds of things? would there be a section in there on that and what would it look like? >> yes. so just quickly, you know -- as a sauce question? of the really quick. oil and gas came within a provision that we passed to replace the provision they had for strengthening manufacturing in this country because the wto
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held that it was via the tip of the wto. so we try to replace it and that was also found to be wto violative. so then we passed the present section. at the last minute, oil and gas is placed in there. it had nothing to do with manufacturing. it was done in the wee hours. we were stuck with this, you want a replacement, which manufacturing in this country, including oil and gas or are you going to vote against the whole darn thing? so we accepted a compromise. it has to be extracted, talking about oil and gas. >> now the last, last question. [inaudible]
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>> my ability to see around corners. >> basically it's a fiscal cliff to what you have been with this sequestered that everything you would've run out of the tax reform process has been dealt with, at least in a halfstep measure to make it maybe not impossible, but much less likely that tax reform goes forward this to your period is that basically which you believe in in if you could just say a word about why at this point tax reform should go forward and what d.c. is the upside of that. >> i am not saying that. what i am saying is that i think we took some steps in the last package that has some ramifications for tax reform. but i am not saying that we should not sit down and talk about how we look at our tax structure and how we reform
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that. it is a fact they buy what we voted, but it isn't anything close to the whole package. i think what it does is to force people to be more concrete about what they mean when they talk about tax reform. let me just give you an example. some of the provisions we have on training and riche training, some of them are an appropriations and some of them are in the tax structure. i think we can take a hard look at all of our training programs. some of them aren't about the taxation. i think we can do that in many respects. so i'm not saying no. and a sense, i think the opposite, as i see it, is what should have been.
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i think we should extend, if not end the debt ceiling issue. we should just set it aside for it through a period of time. we should tackle a sequestration then we have to do that in the next six weeks. so i hope that we don't drag this out as some people are saying and then move onto a serious serious discussion of tax reform. and entitlement issues. so i see it in a sense the opposite way. i say let's get this done, and a sequestration part in the debt ceiling the next six weeks and then move on. those who are saying let's do a triple feature both, they are the ones who would be underwriting the effort to sit down and have a serious discussion of tax reform
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entitlements. >> we have about two minutes left. francine. >> i have a question about itemize deductions. what's your thought on having a cap on itemize deductions that people can use for whatever they want. mark h. word whatever. >> the problem with a cab is that it has to seriously consequence, especially for charitable contributions. because a substantial portion of the charitable contributions come from the very wealthy. i think the figure may be something that will lowther have comes people with income over a million. so the problem with a cab if they would have significant consequences for charitable
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contributions and perhaps for state and local taxes. so i think a better way to look at this is to look at the administration's proposal, but to do it with caution and if possible to do it at a bipartisan basis. maybe i close this somewhat a hopeful note. the notion that we should address that issue has some way partisan roots in the last year? everybody's been talking about it. we have to appeal to sit down and discuss on a bipartisan basis, if republicans are willing to look at additional revenues, including taxation. and maybe i should close with this, i don't see the
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alternative. you cannot address sequestration simply through cuts because if you reduce the amount for defense to say 100 billion, which some people, including someone i know quite well says it is feasible, but the 500 is and. so if you reduce it substantially, where's the rest of it going to come from what it would have to come in substantial part, i think, from the domestic side and i think if you look at what's happened and what is going to happen if we continue on this path to health
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research, it nih, and i say this in a personal way because of family involvement in health research. but my wife started working, running a peer review group on child development, if there were 100 applications for the peer review group that she ran, david set-aside 50. the staff, my wife would set aside 50 is not very strong. they would take the other 50 in the peer review would come out with 15 or 20 highly ranked end of that 20, maybe half would be funded. today, it is lucky if two or three are offended.
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what is true for child mental health and development is true for medical research is true across the board in most areas of nih. this is not a clash and starving the beast. this is a question of starving whether we are going to start not the beast, but necessary programs in this country. and we shouldn't starve them. and so, we need to face up to sequestration. we need, in my judgment, to see if we can study target beyond it, 1.4 trillion over the next 10 years and we need to do it in a balanced way. and if not, we are going to threaten balance in this country, including the full faith and credit of the united
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states. and the president was, in my judgment, absolutely correct to essentially threw it on the car plant and say, this must not happen. >> thank you for taking all this time with us. >> my pleasure. [inaudible conversations]
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.. but how much of it in the address through congressional process? >> thank you for the question. i can tell you that tomorrow the
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president and vice president will hold an event here at the white house to unveil a package of concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies like the one in newtown, conn. they will be joined by children from around the country your president letters in the wake of that tragedy expressing their concerns about compliance and school safety along with their parents. that event will be at approximately 11:45 a.m. i will not get ahead of the president in terms of what his package of proposals will include. i will simply note that the president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach and has also made clear that there are specific legislative actions that he will continue to call on congress to take, including the assault weapons ban, including a measure to ban high-capacity magazine clips including an effort to
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close the very big loopholes in the background check system in our country, but i will, beyond that, leave it to the president to announce what actions he intends tomorrow. >> there has been a fair one gun owners that the president might unilaterally try to restrict their right to bear arms and have access to weapons. does the president believe that his executive powers give him the authority to restrict someone's right to access certain weapons or in mission? >> let's be clear, the president has said often in the estivate said he believes the second amendment guarantees the individual and arm -- the right to bear arms. he believes that all -- mostly all gonna owners by the responsibly and use them safely end of has seen them believe that most support. : yeah of common-sense measures to prevent people he should not
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have guns from getting them which includes closing loopholes in background checks systems, for example. but when it comes to -- president will take a comprehensive approach, but is the simple fact there are limits on what can be done with existing law and congress has to act on the kinds of measures that we have already mentioned because the power to do that is reserved by congress. so i am not going to get ahead of the president. he will announce a series of proposals, but certainly a significant part of what he hopes we, together, can achieve, will have to be done working with congress. >> to separate topic. some comments that emerged
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recently. he delivered a speech in 2010 in which we should nurse our children and grandchildren in the future. in days to an end of you around the same time very insulting and territory terms. does the president think that he should detract his comments to offer policies, and to your knowledge have they offered in the thing to the white house? >> we strongly condemn the remarks that then muslim -- muslim brotherhood leader made. the language we have seen is deeply offensive. we completely reject these statements, as we do in the language that espouses a religious hatred. this discourse, and this is a broader point, this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long, and is counter to the goal of peace.
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he should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic egypt. since taking office, he has reaffirmed the commitment to the peace treaty with israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us toward shared objectives, including a ceasefire during the crisis in gaza last year. these commitments are essential for our relations with egypt as well as stability in the region. we will always speak out against language that espouses religious hatred or encourages the use of violence and have raised our concerns over these remarks with the government of egypt. >> does the white house believe that israelis contrasting to uphold is in of the bargain? >> we strongly condemn the comments and believe that he should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and this type of rhetoric is
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unacceptable. three -- we work within toward objectives. he has demonstrated in word and deed is a commitment to the peace treaty with israel which is significant and that obviously worked with us to resolve or to achieve a peace settlement in -- a cease-fire, rather, in the does the conflict last year, so this is about action, indeed, and we believe that way goods like that is to tolerated in the region and has been acceptable in the region for too long and we strongly condemn it because it is counter to peace and the long-term interest of everyone in the region who hopes for peace and greater prosperity. yes.
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>> one shooter video games in the entertainment industry, and wondering if the president has a message tomorrow for people, more in te gun violence problem more ways that could help address it? >> i would ask you to wait for the presidents event tomorrow where he will broadly address the steps forward that he believes we need to take as a nation to try to reduce the surge of gun violence in this country, but i don't want to get ahead of the president. it certainly correct the vice-president at that meeting. >> as far as some legislative things that can be addressed through legislation, is there a sense of how quickly the administration would be able to find other pieces of the proposal that can be done and help quickly -- how important is it to move quickly?
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you know, not let what happened -- >> the president certainly hopes that out of the tragedy of newtown we can achieve progress toward reducing gun violence in this country. he believes that, you know, we can no longer stand by without taking action, even as he did yesterday as the knowledge is that no single thing that we can do will eliminate this problem and he enologist yesterday that achieving some of the goals that he has already said might be difficult because there are difficult does not mean that they should not be pursued. as for timetables, when it comes to congressional action, that obviously depends on congress.
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the president has called for congressional action. in terms of other measures in my proposed i would leave it to the president to describe those in greater detail tomorrow and to my you know, perhaps address the question of timetable and speed tomorrow. >> what commitments have you gotten from leaders in congress stemming from senator reid to work on this? >> i don't have any conversations of that nature to the votes today. he certainly believes that congressional action is necessary. there is a certain -- i think a significant amount of interest in moving in these issues. and he will work with members of congress to try to advance these important initiatives in terms of a tie and tails, a professional probative. >> center reed has said he doubts and assault weapons ban can pass the house and the
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senate will only move on something that can pass the house. so how frustrating is this? >> i think we will put forward a series of proposals. the president has made clear that he supports and has long supported the assault weapons ban. but the congress to put together a legislative strategy, and we will push for things that are hard because their the right things to do. i, you know, we are not going to the -- before it started? >> i don't believe that. i think that that does not mean it is a sure thing. if these things are easy, they would have been achieved already if renewal of the assault weapons ban were easily accomplished it would not be renewing because it would have happened already. the fact of the matter is, the president is committed to pushing his proposals. he is not a you about the challenges that exist, but he
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believes that, as he said yesterday, if even one child life can be saved by the actions we take here in washington we must take his actions. >> i know you all say that this, but the president is not always very prone said going up there. >> such a long history of president's going up there? [laughter] >> and they also have people -- >> at think that the television program, but go ahead. [laughter] >> over our heads. >> you know. sorry. anyway. go ahead. >> but he cared also have one over here and there are a number things. i know the history. my question is, how much is he willing to do that to win what he wants on the assault weapons
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ban and on gun safety in general? is this the issue that he will really break the mold? offs, -- >> i would start by addressing that it is a little off : the president's commitment to this, he believes it is a high priority, not just for him but for the country. he will push a series of proposals, and i think you will see that clearly when you hear from him tomorrow. that includes working with congress to try to get some of these legislative actions done on behalf of the american people. the don't think you should doubt his commitment, and he will work to achieve what can be achieved. >> to see have any commitment from democratic leaders like harry reid? nancy pelosi? especially harry reid that they will push the assault weapons ban?
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>> again, this was addressed earlier. the legislative strategy will be something that is worked out with legislative leaders. the fact is to the president is committed to the renewal of the assault weapons ban. a number of senators are. i think there are a variety of things that we need to have done legislatively, and the president has already put forward some of those in terms of how that plays out, i think we have to wait and see, but he is committed to acting, and you will -- i think you have seen something that reflects that which is, the vice-president, at the president's request, took on this task of bringing people together, formulating proposals and recommendations of the holidays and in the midst of the fiscal clarified and no other physical challenges and debates that we are having with congress and did an extraordinary amount of work in order to present to the president a series of recommendations that he said -- could choose from and put forward which she will do
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tomorrow. >> does the president believes he can achieve his goals and reduce gun violence without the assault weapons ban? >> that is hard to analyze what were -- quantify what that means exactly. the president will put forward a series of proposals not limited to one legislative action. and i don't think he believes -- i know he doesn't believe that even if everything that he puts forward or acted on, made law when it comes to legislative action or acted on in other ways, that we would eliminate gun violence in america. he understands that that is the case. at the our goal, obviously, should be -- as a country should be never to accept even one child step as a result of gun violence. so he believes that things that we can do as a nation together in a bipartisan way when it comes to legislation together outside of washington to yes, we
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can reduce gun violence. but it is something we have to do together. it is something that cannot be done by president alone. cannot be done by a single community alone, mayor, governor , or why congress alone. they have to work together. >> what the senate package passed by congress that did not include the assault weapons ban? >> the president is not saying any single measure passed that -- it has to be part of -- let's say -- i don't want to quantify the number of actions to my put forward tomorrow, but he believes we ought to move on all the command is not going to say that we have to move on this one or as we go live on that one. he believes that we should pass legislation that closes loopholes in background check systems which is something that think we have all seen has broad support across the country among gun owners and non gun honors, among, you know, people in red states and people in the states,
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democrats and republicans, and that is something that we should act on because it is very important. there are a host of measures that we can take it can address this problem, and he believes we should take them as a nation. >> just to clarify, the question of executive forces verses when congress has to act, there are legitimate protections. and just to make it abundantly clear, nothing the president will talk about tomorrow and executive orders would touch upon those constitutionally protected second amendment rights? >> first of all, the president of the united states believes that the second amendment guarantees an individual's right to bear arms. he has been explicit about this. and throughout his time in office he has made clear that he believes we ought to take a common sense and enact common-sense measures that protect our second amendment rights that prevent people who should not have weapons from obtaining an. so his commitment to the second amendment, i think, is very clear.
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i no there is speculation. we don't have much longer the wait. his commitment to the second amendment is very clear. >> farther afield, what do you think the conversations that have been had about what is going on, the u.s. interest, the degree or level of cooperation now and in the future and what they're undertaking? >> i appreciate the question. the president did speak with president of blonde last week, and we share the french goal of the nine terrorists safe haven in support the french operation. we are supporting the french by sharing information, and we are considering requests for logistical support. we will stay in close touch with the french government and other international partners as the situation develops. as i think you know, the united nations security council condemned recent attacks by rebel and terrorist groups against somalian government
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forces and the government of molly asked for support. we called for swift implementation of the u.n. security council resolution 2085 to restore stability. it is also imperative that the transitional government present a political road map for real return to democratic governance and negotiations with groups that reject terrorism and except the unified country. [inaudible question] >> we work with our international partners to combat groups linked around the world. we share an interest with the french in depriving terrorists safe haven in north africa and a country like mali, and we work with nations like france and others in that region and around the world to achieve the shared goals, in other words, the goals that we share. so i think that is reflected in the actions that we have taken and the support that we have
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given to the french operation. >> executive order being announced tomorrow, how you address concerns? >> again, i think there have been reports about possible items that may be proposed by the president. some of those reports have been linked to suggestions and recommendations were conversations that have occurred in the series of meetings that the vice-president has held as part of his effort to consider this issue on behalf of the president. i would urge you not to make assumptions about what the president will announce tomorrow based on reports that reflect, at most, an earlier stage of the process. the president will announce a plan that is the president's plan. he will do that tomorrow. >> that i don't think quite
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answers the question. >> you made a decision about what he will announce commencing reports that suggest or speculate or ponder what he might announce are premature. >> in other words, there may not be an executive order. >> in other words, not going to give specifics of what the president will announce tomorrow >> but an attempt to go around congress. >> i think i've answered this several times a ready in the short time i've been here which is that the president believes and supports the second amendment. he also understands that there are limits to what can be achieved without congressional action, which is why he is calling on congress to act appropriately. >> the fact that the president can propose or announce administrative action also suggests that the government has not been doing as much as it could have been in the past in terms of enforcement, for example. how do you address that question? >> the president has made clear that we all need to do more, and
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we all need to examine our consciences and a knowledge that we have not done enough to protect our children. if we had, some of the tragedies that we have seen in this country most recently in connecticut might not have happened. you will hear from the president tomorrow about the package of proposals he believes other arrive one-stop address this problem. he looks forward to working with congress and continuing to work with stakeholders of all kinds moving forward. this is something that must be addressed as a nation, not something you can do a lot through executive action or would even a series of laws that congress might pass. this is a problem that debt is on a variety of areas of american life, and it needs to
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be approached broadly, and i think that is why the president asked the vice president to take on this effort, why the vice-president met with so many different groups, victims' groups, gun safety organizations , advocates of sportsmen, ownership groups, representatives as -- representatives of the entertainment and video game industries. secretary duncan, secretary sibelius, mental health and disability advocates, a senior white house officials met with a variety of stakeholders into the medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, state leaders, and others, and i think that some of the breadth of the effort represents the scope of the problem. >> of like to follow up the question that was asked a moment before to try to pin down a little bit more about the efforts. before the fiscal cliff deadline he traveled to places like virginia, michigan, pennsylvania , where legal on the road for the issue of gun violence to try to pursue this
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campaign? >> i have no scheduling an ounce to make. the president considers this a priority. i think that is been made clear by the speed of action that you have seen represented here by both the president and vice-president. it will be represented by the event uc to mar the president and vice-president old, and i will leave it to the president to announce the next steps, but he believes we need to act now. he believes that we need to take steps that prevent or help prevent the kind of tragic violence against our children in particular that we saw in 210 connecticut and see in less spectacular former of the country all the time. >> yesterday the nra put out a new ad that is for children as an it to cut young as age four according to its rating that allows children to get to a shooting range and
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fire. given the conversation with the gaming industry, do you think that is appropriate? >> i have heard about this, but i have not had a conversation with the president about it. i really have not seen what you're referring to. >> i think that these are good questions. and i think some of the answers we don't know in terms of what the impact and influence applications and video games and entertainment have, but that is why the vice-president had some of the meetings that were had and this conversation does not end tomorrow. it continues. and, you know, i think for parents around the country these are issues that merit examination, and as a country, these are issues that merit
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examination. and some of the issues that are presented here are not ones that are solvable by washington action, necessarily. they are more of that nature that pinned to the will of community feelings and parental guidance and the like. so again, i don't know much about the specific issue, but i think broadly that is why this issue is so complex. >> by the late, very briefly, in an interview that will air later this week, the cyclist lance armstrong will admit to doping, using performance-enhancing drugs during that time when he won seven toward affronts championships curious given the fact that just last week we had a hall of fame induction where there word zero baseball players conducted. in the acknowledgement?
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>> having spoken with him about lance armstrong and i know that there were reports about what he said in the interview, but i have not seen yet. but i will say is the president feels very strongly that it is inappropriate to use performance enhancing drugs and that any steps that any individual athlete takes or organizations take to reduce their use or eliminate them are good things. and but beyond that, i don't have a specific reaction. >> okay. >> if in fact lance armstrong admits to a building with the president consider directing doj to investigate whether he violated his agreement with u.s. postal? >> specular to matter. it is a speculative matter about possible legal action. that is two strikes, and in this case you're out.
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[laughter] >> any update on how the president is preparing for his inaugural address? anything he might be consulting. >> i don't have much for you. he is obviously thinking about it and working on the address that you will give. it is something that he feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to do for a second time, but beyond that, i just don't have any details for you. >> just because things were hard ,. [inaudible question] >> you mean, in the inaugural speech? think he was referring to specifically measures to reduce gun violence. i think broadly speaking of that reflects, i think, a very american mindset that says, you
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know, we don't shy away from trying to do hard things because these things are important to do but i would not read into that anything about the inaugural address necessarily. it is certainly his view about why it is important to push forward to take common-sense measures to address gun violence, even if some folks out there are saying they are really hard and cannot be done. we have to try. >> when it comes to immigration and other issues, how is the president planning to use, if at all, his address to engage the millions who were targeted during the campaign? >> well, i don't know specifically about that particular network. and of the president believes and has lender the course of his first term that it is highly important when trying to move
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forward on an agenda that is both necessary and enjoys popular support that we in days the public. and that is an approach he has taken for some time now, and i think broadly speaking is an approach will continue to take. its other question of -- is the question of sitting down engaging. he's demonstrating that the both approaches, that effective approach and the approach that you can expect him to continue to take. >> the payroll tax and a couple of other things, but nothing a large scale. is there going to be? can we expect to see mobilization? >> millions of americans to sell their payroll tax cut extended,
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millions of students who saw their student loan rates kept low and fur virtually all working americans who saw tax cuts, their taxes kept low, their income tax rates couple of as a result of the fiscal clef deal, for those people the president's success in using these, this strategy, i think, is pretty notable. that is a big thing for the american people. you know, going toward i think as a general matter if he believes that to because some of the issues that we debate here in washington can sound arcane can involve terminology like raising the debt ceiling for spending in the out years or entitlement reform, these are issues that matter deeply to
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everyday americans and affect their livelihood and affect there, you know, their potential and the american economy. so he thinks the american people care. he thinks that they want to hear from their leaders in washington about the things that they are debating here. i think he will absolutely continue to engage the american people on the policy proposals he is putting forward. >> jackie. >> thank you. >> aegis said it is another choice. last summer you said the president has not spoken ever with a certain senator about emigration. he came out and laid out his key points. as the president or anyone else from the white house spoken to him about it? >> i think senator rubio at the time had, i think, i think,
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demonstrated and reported absence of support among republican leaders for even the issues that he was discussing. the president has put forward, and their is a blueprint on the website that demonstrates this, an approach that has comprehensive immigration reform that he believes we should move forward on and that you can expect and to move forward on in the relatively near future. the fact is we are encouraged, referring not to recent reports, that his thinking, as reported, so closely reflect the president's blueprint for perth reform. the president has long called for partners from both sides of the island has lamented the absence of partners from the other side of the aisle. used to be a bipartisan pursued. for while it ceased to be, but he simply hopes that it will be in the future. and the reports about the ideas bode well for a productive
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bipartisan debate which we hope will start in earnest soon after the inauguration. we hope it signals a change in the republican approach to this issue because if we're going to get this done it is going to take more than just a handful of republicans working across the aisle. it is the kind of thing, comprehensive immigration reform requires significant bipartisan support, and he hopes that this augurs well for the future. >> why not pick up the phone and call? >> you're suggesting that we won't? there is no question that as a move forward that it will involve engagement with democrats and republicans, and you conspectus that will happen. again, to my knowledge he has yet to put anything on paper or draw up any legislation. we welcome reports of his position and look forward to working with him and other republicans in pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform because -- >> you can see all the white house briefing at c-span.org.
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we go live now to the kansas state house in topeka for governor sam brown's state of the state speech in which she lays out his vision for the next year. the republican majority in both legislative chambers. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause]
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and back. [applause] [applause] >> good evening. mr. speaker, madam president -- [applause] >> yes. [applause] [applause] >> you jim's my line. now i'm going to have to repeated and i hope he will be willing to do that again. a lot of new faces here. welcome. to have you in the legislature.
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it's going to be a great year, and i do have one quick pronouncement. next year in this time the capitol renovation will be complete. [applause] >> finished. that has been about a decade in the coming, but it does look beautiful. legislators, justices of the kansas supreme court, lt. governor, members of my cabinet, leaders of the native american nations of kansas that are located in the state. my wonderful wife mary, the first lady of the state of kansas, my parents, oh, yes, please. my parents, bob and nancy brownback are joining us
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tonight. and my fellow kansans good evening. kansas governors for more than 130 years have come in front of this body to discuss an important business. i am honored to be the first governor to be able to say welcome, madam president. [applause] [applause] mr. speaker, madam president, the state of our state is strong and blessed and leading america and a number of key areas.
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let me begin tonight by saying that kansas is truly a special place. a state that chose freedom when the darkness of slavery divided our nation. a place where the world learns to fly and bounce a basketball. a place where a boy born in a log cabin 200 miles north of edmonton, canada, could become speaker of the kansas house. what an amazing place. [applause] [applause] >> that sounded cold to me.
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yes, kansas is a special place and our own. when our country seems a draft, kansas leads to the stars through difficulty. in an era when many believe america has lost its way, kansans know the difficult path that our nation must take. it is the well-born, saw the tracks of hard work, thrift, patients, perseverance, faith, sacrifice, and family that will get us where we want our country to go. and as been our tradition since statehood, we will not be timid in doing what is right, even if much of the rest of the nation takes a different way. where others choose to raise taxes, we will lower than so that our people have more money and not the government.
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what other governments expand be grow smaller. where others choose to grow spending, a kansas grows jobs. an important ways, our state is growing against the tide and reflecting the values of the greatest generation, the world war ii generation more than that of my own. some accept the breakdown of the family is simply unavoidable, we push back. knowing the strong families and healthy marriages are the best guarantee for the future of our kids. where some walk away from our nation's model, we embrace it. it's part of the pioneering spirit, in god we trust. [applause] yes, kansas is a special place. when i started as governor we began the fiscal year, and i remember very well : $8,706.5 in
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the bank account. a predicted deficit of $500 million even after taxes have been raised during the previous the ministration. i think a number of you here remember that as well. working with the legislature we ended last fiscal year with $500 million in the balance, a billion dollars swing to the good, and we paid off all of our callable bonds as well. good job, legislature. [applause] we are now in a strong fiscal position. the last decade, unfortunately, was a lost decade. what cans is lost, thousands of private-sector jobs, the rest of america grew. december 2010, our unemployment rate was 7%. today our state unemployment rate is just under five and a
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half percent, that tent the lowest in america. wichita state university projects it will add another 24,000 private-sector jobs this year alone. that's good news. [applause] when i started as governor we had the highest state income tax in the region. now we have the second lowest, and no one is to take it to zero. lookout, texas. here comes kansas. [applause] [applause] in the previous decade, we have population losses of more than
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10% in nearly half of our counties. today we are adding hundreds of new jobs in many of our rural counties. communities are adding kindergarten class is for the first seven decades. kansas has been blessed. the current drought is harsh. reservoirs and aqua for continue to give us the water we need. now they needed attention. several and many lakes need dredging. the offer needs local action to reduce its use and save some for future generations. now, our forefathers and mothers sacrificed to provide for ross. now we must sacrifice our children and grandchildren will be provided for. we will go forward by simply eat doing the right things for kids. for one, we must reduce
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childhood poverty. trillions of dollars have been spent since president johnson declared war on poverty, and yet the gerald the poverty rate nationwide has remained virtually unchanged at more than 23%. we need a new strategy. we intuitively know that the brookings institute is reported. the best way to combat childhood poverty is three things. the key to the child success is the ability to read. this morning 45,000 kansas children woke up, one dressed and went to kindergarten. a class of two dozen 25 and their the future of kansas. being a will to read is one of the greatest gift that we can give these children, yet
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29 percent of kansas' fourth graders didn't work -- can we get a basic level. the goal of the of restoration is to ensure each of the 40,000 kindergartners is able to read professionally by the time they reach the fourth grade. we can do this. we must do this. it is important to our kids. [applause] this is why i am proposing that chances as the initiative with three components, first providing $12 million support to innovative programs to help struggling readers. second, provide incentives to elementary schools that most successfully increased fourth grade reading scores. third, it will require a third grade students to demonstrate an ability to read before being promoted to the fourth grade.
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[applause] passing children up the great letter when we know that they cannot read is irresponsible and cruel. we can and must do better by our children. [applause] now, it is never easy being a mom or dad, but it gets even harder if one or both parents are not able to get a decent job . my road map for kansas' is focused on the economic growth of our state's seven. can expand and families can prosper. last year the kansas legislature passed the largest tax cut in the history of the state. tonight we're here to take another step on that path to no state income taxes.
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this will create jobs and opportunities in our state that the current generation has left for texas or florida to find. by making government more efficient and growing our economy, we can keep the sales tax flat at its current level and cut income taxes on our lower-income working families the just under 2% and drop the top rate to three endicott -- three and a half percent. this glidepath will not cut funding to schools. higher education work essentials safety net programs. for those who come to kansas or stay in kansas because of lower taxes, let me tell you, opportunities abound. and at all-time record of over 15,000 new business organizations formed and file and the state of kansas last year alone. a great sign of economic growth and that this plan is working. we are the capital of the world.
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then our aircraft industry is back on the ascent and southwest airlines is soon to land in wichita. the nation's breadbasket. and it's meat counter and becoming its dairy section as well. our oil production is hitting a high not seen for more than a decade with billions of dollars of new vertical and horizontal drilling. we are number one in new wind investment with $3 billion of new investment last year alone and more to come. our rapidly growing animal health section stretches from k state intend to johnson county and grabs nearly 30 percent of the world market. we provide engineering and architecture and other services to people everywhere. our new path, our new pro-growth path is a path home for our children. part of our strategy will involve encouraging, not
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destroying families. we will help families economically, educationally, socially. we will involve local efforts of intensive support, mentoring, and pushing people to a job market, not another government program. we look forward to continuing our partnership with the family foundation as we strive toward reaching these goals. now on the budget, that state of kansas must prioritize its budget. fiscal discipline as seemingly become a lost art in government. our schools only get $0.54 of every precious education dollar into the classroom. this at a time when we put more state money into k-12 education per capita than any surrounding state. when total spending averages more than $12,600 per student per year, we seem to focus only
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on how much money is appropriated, not on whether it is effectively spent, and this must change and is changing during this administration. [applause] and submitting to the legislature able to-year budget recommendation, something that used to happen and has not for a while. substantial focuses on efficiency and effectiveness. this budget is balanced, protects the base state aid in increases total state funding for caithness told schools, maintaining stable funding for higher education. it also provides for educating 50 additional medical doctors every year at a new state-of-the-art medical training building at the university of kansas medical center. we want the highest quality
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health care for our people as possible. [applause] this budget provides essential services for our most needy and defines a new crime lab and training facility for our state law enforcement on the campus of the university fully funding our state infrastructure investments additionally and importantly both my 2014 and 2015 budget provide a 7- percent ending balance without cutting core services. [applause] lessons stands in stark contrast to the $876 that was left from
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july of 2010 and make no mistake i believe in fiscal discipline and in healthy and adequate in imbalances. trends matter and for years kansas has consistently progressed a larger government, higher taxes, and unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, more of our citizens leaving. we are changing those trends. the administration has worked to restructure and reform state government to be more efficient and effective, but their is a lot more that we can do. one of the clearest examples of duplication in state government is the fact that we have to highway departments, the kansas department of transportation and the kansas turnpike authority. it is time that we realize the efficiencies to be gained by replacing these two operations and putting them under the same umbrella.
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[applause] [applause] we don't need to highway departments in our state. one is enough. by bringing these two large organizations together under the direction of the secretary of transportation it will serve the public better and more efficiently and have more money to put into our roads. trans mater, the principles matter even more. the democratic system of checks and balances crafted by our founding fathers, the power to authorize spending public money was given exclusively to you, the legislative branch. this is a core principle of our way of governance. [applause] [applause]
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[applause] now, as a former legislator i am highly protective of the power of the purse because i know and it is the primary power of the legislative body. it is not the power of these are kids, nor the judiciary. for the last two years, you, the legislature, have proven that you can increase the support for education while pursuing pro-growth economic policies at the same time, balancing a wide range of public priorities, a strength of our representative system and how it operates. so i ask you to make it clear in long that defining what is a suitable provision for public funding of education is a job for the people's elected representatives and no one else.
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[applause] [applause] [applause] now, expect and are entitled to a government not be old and the special-interest groups. this is a principle. it the guiding principle of our american democracy must be that every citizen stan's equal before the law. be the governor or farmer, a teacher or lawyer. unfortunately, our current system of selecting our appellate judges fails the democratic test.
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rather than giving an equal voice to all in the selection of judges, kansas is the only state that allows a special interest group to control the process of choosing who will be a our appellate judges. that is not as it should be here the people rule. [applause] night -- now, i did not realize this, but kansas used to elect our state supreme court. i would be supportive of returning to that system are going to the federal model of judicial selection. either passes the democracy test that our current system fails. no, i mentioned at the outset that many of you are new to the legislature, and that is a good thing. the framers of our constitution
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intended for frequent rotation in public office, providing valuable introspective, yet there is a teacher like experience, and no danger > pride. with that in mind, please permit some advice from one who is a freshman legislator, 18 short years ago. first, i suggest to you the value of relationships. i treasure their relationships i am fortunate to have with other people. one of those relationships was with paul wellstone, a wonderful liberal senator from minnesota. in 1998 he and i co-authored legislation that started america's fight to end human trafficking, work that we have a chance to build on here in the kansas was letter. he and his wife died in a plane crash in 2002. others took up the work in the senate, and it was important, the loss was the departure of paul, a beautiful soul.
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cherished the people and your relationships with them. there are more important than policy or politics. second, learn everything that you can from those who have come before you. those people no more than you can imagine, and if you take the time to listen to the a lot. for me my mentors have been our own kansas treasurers. i have also learned a lot from senators. for you in needn't be someone from your part of the state or even your party and in fact, you will probably learn more if it is not. of all those that you could learn from, i suggest paying particular attention to a teacher. when he joined -- join me in honoring a man who has spent more time in the state capital than any other legislator in the history of the state of kansas beginning his 307th year in the kansas
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, anthony hensley. anthony. [applause] [applause] [applause] and i will take my own advice there as well. as the senator often offers me history lessons and kansas legislature and i listen and will continue to do so. there is another person you could learn a lot from who has worked in the state house, even longer than senator hensley. his name, dawn has offered a distinct house snack shops is 1976. there may be people here who were not born in that time. i will not ask them to hold
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their hand up. but he greets each day as a gift from god, and he truly is a gift of joy to this capital. would you please stand up and take about. [applause] [laughter] [applause] [applause] [applause] that might even give me a free candy bar. [laughter] no, wait a minute. i am in this obesity challenge. i cannot do that anymore. lastly, measure your time here